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Volume XXV] July, ig20 {Number 4 



THE GREEK ELEMENT IN THE RENAISSANCE OF THE 
TWELFTH CENTURY 

THE renaissance of the twelfth century consisted in part of a 
revival of the Latin classics and the Roman law, whence the 
movement has sometimes been called a "Roman renaissance", in 
part of a rapid widening of the field of knowledge by the introduc- 
tion of the science and philosophy of the ancient Greeks into western 
Europe. This Greek learning came in large measure through Arabic 
intermediaries, with some additions in the process, so that the influ- 
ence of the Saracen scholars of Spain and the East is well under- 
stood. It is not always sufficiently realized that there was also a 
notable amount of direct contact with Greek sources, both in Italy 
and in the East, and that translations made directly from Greek 
originals were an important, as well as a more direct and faithful, 
vehicle for the transmission of ancient learning. Less considerable 
in the aggregate than what came through the Arabs, the Greek ele- 
ment was nevertheless significant for the later Middle Ages, while 
it is further interesting as a direct antecedent of the Greek revival 
of the Quattrocento. No general study has yet been made of this 
movement, but detailed investigation has advanced sufficiently to 
permit of a brief survey of the present state of our knowledge. 
The most important meeting-point of Greek and Latin culture 
in the twelfth century was the Norman kingdom of southern Italy 
and Sicily. 1 Long a part of the Byzantine Empire, this region still 
retained Greek traditions and a numerous Greek-speaking popula- 
tion, and it had not lost contact with the East. In the eleventh cen- 

1 See, in general, Haskins and Lockwood, " The Sicilian Translators of the 
Twelfth Century and the First Latin Version of Ptolemy's Almagest ", in Harvard 
Studies in Classical Philology, XXI. 75-102 (1910) ; Haskins, " Further Notes on 
Sicilian Translations of the Twelfth Century", ibid., XXIII. 155-166 (1912); 
and the literature there cited. 

AM. HIST. REV., VOL. XXV. — 40. ( 603 ) 



604 C. H. Haskins 

tury the merchants of Amain maintained an active commerce with 
Constantinople and Syria; Byzantine craftsmen wrought great 
bronze doors for the churches and palaces of the south f and travel- 
ling monks brought back fragments of Greek legend and theology 
to be turned into Latin. 3 Libraries of Greek origin, chiefly of 
Biblical and theological writings, were gathered into the Basilian 
monasteries, 4 and more comprehensive collections were formed at 
the Norman capital. Only in the Norman kingdom did Greek, 
Latin, and Arabic civilization live side by side in peace and tolera- 
tion. These three languages were in current use in the royal char- 
ters and registers, as well as in many-tongued Palermo, so that 
knowledge of more than one of them was a necessity for the officials 
of the royal court, to which men of distinction from every land were 
welcomed. The production of translations was inevitable in such a 
cosmopolitan atmosphere, and it was directly encouraged by the 
Sicilian kings, from Roger to Frederick II. and Manfred, as part 
of their efforts to foster learning. While Roger commanded a his- 
tory of the five patriarchates from a Greek monk, Neilos Doxopatres, 
and a comprehensive Arabic treatise on geography from the Saracen 
Edrisi, translation appears to have been more actively furthered 
during the brief reign of his successor. Under William I. a Latin 
rendering of Gregory Nazianzen was undertaken by the king's 
orders, and a version of Diogenes Laertius was requested by his 
chief minister Maio. Indeed the two principal translators were 
members of the royal administration, Henricus Aristippus and 
Eugene the Emir, both of whom have left eulogies of the king which 
celebrate his philosophic mind and wide-ranging tastes and the 
attractions of his court for scholars. 5 

Archdeacon of Catania in 1156, when he worked at his Plato in 
the army before Benevento, Aristippus was the principal officer of 
the Sicilian curia from 1160 to 1162, when his dismissal was soon 

2 A. Schaube, Handelsgeschichte der Romanischen Volker (Munich, 1906), 
PP- 34-37 ; F- Novati, he Origini, in the co-operative Storia Letteraria d'ltalia, 
p. 312 ff. 

3 The principal examples are Nemesius, De Natura Hominis, translated by 
Alfano, bishop of Salerno, and a collection of miracles put into Latin by the 
monk John of Amain. On Alfano, see particularly C. Baeumker, in Wochen- 
schrift fiir Klassische Philologie, vol. XIII., coll. 1095-1102 (1896); and G. 
Falco, in Archivio della Societa Romana di Storia Patria, XXXV. 439-481 (1912). 
On John, M. Huber, Johannes Monachus, Liber de Miraculis (Heidelberg, 1913). 

* F. Lo Parco, " Scolario-Saba ", in Atti della R. Accademia di Archeologia di 
Napoli. n. s., vol. I., pt. II., pp. 207-286 (1910), with Heiberg's criticism in 
Byzantinische Zeitschrift, XXII. 160-162. 

5 Hermes, I. 388; Byzantinische Zeitschrift, XI. 451. 



Greek in the Twelfth Century 605 

followed by his death. Besides the versions of Gregory Nazianzen 
and Diogenes, which, if completed, have not reached us, Aristippus 
was the first translator of the Meno and Phaedo of Plato and of the 
fourth book of Aristotle's Meteorology, 6 and his Latin rendering 
remained in current use during the Middle Ages and the early 
Renaissance. An observer of natural phenomena on his own 
account, he was also instrumental in bringing manuscripts to Sicily 
from the library of the Emperor Manuel at Constantinople. One of 
these possesses special importance, a beautiful codex of Ptolemy's 
Almagest, from which the first Latin version was made by a visiting 
scholar about 1160. The translator tells us that he was much aided 
by Eugene the Emir, " a man most learned in Greek and Arabic and 
not ignorant of Latin", who likewise translated Ptolemy's Optics 
from the Arabic. The scientific and mathematical bent of the 
Sicilian school is seen in still other works which were probably first 
turned into Latin here : the Data, Optica, and Catoptrica of Euclid, 
the De Motu of Proclus, and the Pneumatica of Hero of Alexandria. 
A poet of some importance in his native Greek, Eugene is likewise 
associated with the transmission to the West of two curious bits of 
Oriental literature, the prophecy of the Erythraean Sibyl and the 
Sanskrit fable of Kalila and Dimna. If it be added that the new 
versions of Aristotle's Logic were in circulation at the court of Wil- 
liam I., and that an important group of New Testament manuscripts 
can be traced to the scribes of King Roger's court, we get some fur- 
ther measure of the intellectual interests of twelfth-century Sicily, 
while the medical school of Salerno must not be forgotten as a centre 
of attraction and diffusion for scientific knowledge. 

Italy had no other royal court to serve as a centre of the new 
learning, and no other region where East and West met in such 
constant and fruitful intercourse. In other parts of the peninsula 
we must look less for resident Greeks than for Latins who learned 
their Greek at Constantinople, as travellers or as members of the 
not inconsiderable Latin colony made up chiefly from the great com- 
mercial republics of Venice and Pisa. r 

Among the various theological disputations held at Constanti- 

6 See now F. H. Fobes, " Mediaeval Versions of Aristotle's Meteorology ", in 
Classical Philology, X. 297-314 (1915) ; and his edition of the Greek text (Cam- 
bridge, 1919). Cf. also C. Marchesi, " Di Alcuni Volgarizzamenti Toscani ", in 
Studi Romami, V. 123-157 (1907). For the Phaedo the conjectures of F. Lo 
Parco, Petrarca e Barlaam (Reggio, 1905), should be mentioned. 

7 See, in general, G. Gradenigo, Lettera intorno agli Italiani che seppero di 
Greco (Venice, 1743). J. E. Sandys, History of Classical Scholarship (second 
ed.), I. 557 ff., touches the matter very briefly. 



606 C. H. Haskins 

nople in the course of the twelfth century, Anselm of Havelberg has 
left us an account of one before John Comnenos in 1136, at which 

there were present not a few Latins, among them three wise men 
skilled in the two languages and most learned in letters, namely James 
a Venetian, Burgundio a Pisan, and the third, most famous among 
Greeks and Latins above all others for his knowledge of both litera- 
tures, Moses by name, an Italian from the city of Bergamo, and he 
was chosen by all to be a faithful interpreter for both sides. 8 

Each of these Italian scholars is known to us from other sources, 
and they stand out as the principal translators of the age, beyond 
the limits of the Sicilian kingdom. 

Under the year 1128 we read in the chronicle of Robert of 
Torigni, abbot of Mont-Saint-Michel, and well informed respecting 
literary matters in Italy, that "James, a clerk of Venice, translated 
from Greek into Latin certain books of Aristotle and commented on 
them, namely the Topics, the Prior and Posterior Analytics, and the 
Elenchi, although there was an older version of these books ".° 
Long the subject of doubt and discussion, this passage has recently 
been confirmed from an independent source, 10 so that James can be 
singled out as the first scholar of the twelfth century who brought 
the New Logic of Aristotle afresh to the attention of Latin Europe. 
What part his version had in the Aristotelian revival, and what its 
fate was as compared with the traditional rendering of Boethius, 
are questions which for our present purpose it is unnecessary to 
examine. 

Moses of Bergamo evidently found his eastern connections by 
way of Venice. 11 He is the author of an important metrical descrip- 
tion of Bergamo, and kept up relations with his native city through 
letters to his brother and through benefactions to various churches, 

s L. d'Achery, Spicilegium (Paris, 1723), I. 172; cf. Draseke, in Zeitschrift 
fur Kirchengeschichte , XXI. 160—185 (1900). 

9 Robert of Torigni, Chronique, ed. Delisle (Societe de l'Histoire de Nor- 
mandie), I. 177; Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores, VI. 489. 

10 The preface to another version of the twelfth century which I discovered 
in the cathedral library of Toledo in 191 3 and published in an article on" Mediae- 
val Versions of the Posterior Analytics ", in Harvard Studies in Classical Phi- 
lology, XXV. 93 ff. (1914), where the problem of the diffusion of the New Logic 
is also discussed. For recent discussion of this problem, see Hofmeister, in 
Neues Archiv, XL. 454—456 ; Baeumker, in Philosophisches Jahrbuch, XXVIII. 
320-326 ; Geyer, ibid., XXX. 25-43. Geyer believes James of Venice to be the 
author of the version which became current. 

n See Haskins, " Moses of Bergamo ", in Byzantinische Zeitschrift, XXIII. 
133-142 (1914)- 



Greek in the Twelfth Century 607 

but his messengers pass through Venice, and he lives in the Venetian 
quarter at Constantinople. Here he is found in the emperor's serv- 
ice in 1 1 30, when he has lost by fire a precious collection of Greek 
manuscripts, brought together by long effort at the price of three 
pounds of gold. He tells us that he learned Greek for the special 
purpose of turning into Latin works not previously known in the 
West, but the only specimen which has been identified is a transla- 
tion of an uninteresting theological compilation. He has also left 
grammatical opuscula, including a commentary on the Greek words 
in St. Jerome's prefaces, which attest his familiarity with the lan- 
guage and with the writings of the Greek grammarians. Appar- 
ently what we have left are only the fragmentary remains of a many- 
sided activity, as grammarian, translator, poet, and collector of 
manuscripts, which justifies us in considering him a prototype of 
the men who "settled hoti's business" in the fifteenth century. 

Burgundio the Pisan is better known, by reason of his public 
career as well as of his indefatigable zeal as a translator. 12 Appear- 
ing first at the debate of 11 36, he is found in legal documents at 
Pisa from 1147 to 1180, first as an advocate and later as a judge; 
he is sent on diplomatic missions to Ragusa in 11 69 and to Constan- 
tinople in 1172, 13 and was present at the Lateran Council of n 79; 
and he died at a ripe old age in 1193. The sonorous inscription on 
his tomb is still preserved, celebrating this doctor doctorum, gemma 
magistrorum, eminent alike in law, in medicine, and in Greek and 
Latin letters; and this reputation is confirmed by the surviving 
manuscripts of his work. 14 Translation was evidently not the prin- 
cipal occupation of this distinguished career, indeed Burgundio tells 
us that one of his versions required the spare time of two years, but 
his long life made possible a very considerable literary output. 
Theology held the first place : John of Damascus, De Orthodoxa Fide 
(1148-1150), which had been "preached for four centuries as the 

!2 See particularly G. M. Mazzuchelli, Gli Scrittori d'ltalia (Brescia, 1753), 
vol. II., pt. III., pp. 1768-1770; [Fabroni], Memorie Istoriche di piu Uomini 
Illustri Pisani (Pisa, 1790), I. 71—104; Savigny, Geschichte des Rbmischen Rechts 
im Mittelalter (1850), IV. 394-410; F. Buonamici, "Burgundio Pisano ", in 
Annali delle University Toscane, vol. XXVIII. (1908); P. H. Dausend, " Zur 
Uebersetzungsweise Burgundios von Pisa ", in Wiener Studien, XXXV. 353-369 
(1913). 

is Besides the documents cited by Savigny, see G. Miiller, Documents sulle 
Relazioni delle Citti Toscane coll' Oriente (Florence, 1879), pp. 18, 416 ff. 

1* Cf. his survey of previous translations, ancient and medieval, from the 
Greek, infra, note 56. 



608 C. H. Haskins 

theological code of the Greek church " ; 15 the Homilies of John 
Chrysostom on Matthew (1151) 16 and John (1 173) "and perhaps on 
Genesis (incomplete in 1179) ; 18 St. Basil on Isaiah (before 1154) ; 19 
Nemesius, De Natura Hominis, dedicated to Frederick Barbarossa 
on his Italian expedition of 1155 ; 20 perhaps others. 21 Two of these 
versions were dedicated to Pope Eugene III., who secured a manu- 
script of Chrysostom from the patriarch of Antioch and persuaded 
Burgundio to undertake the task of turning it into Latin. 22 His re- 
sults were used by the great theologians of the Western Church, 
such as Peter Lombard and Thomas Aquinas ; 23 indeed he " made 
accessible to the West works which exercised great influence on the 
scholastics, the exegetes, the mystics, and the orators of the Middle 
Ages ", 2 * In medicine, Burgundio's name is attached to the Latin 
versions of ten works of Galen: 25 De Sectis Medicorum, 25 De 

15 J. Ghellinck, " Les Oeuvres de Jean de Damas en Occident au XI1> Siecle ", 
in Revue des Questions Historiques, LXXXVIII. 149-160, reprinted in his Le 
Mouvement Theologique du XH e Siecle (Paris, 1914), pp. 245-275, where further 
studies of Burgundio are promised. Cf. M. Grabmann, Geschichte der Scholas- 
tischen Methode, II. 93 ; P. Duhem, Le Systeme du Monde, III. 37. 

16 Preface in Martene and Durand, Veterum Scriptorum Amplissima Col- 
lectio (Paris, 1724), I. 817. On the date, cf. Dausend, in Wiener Studien, XXXV. 

3S7- 

" Preface, incomplete, Martene and Durand, p. 828 ; see note 56, below. 

is Robert of Torigni, ed. Delisle, II. 109. Cf. C. Baur, S. Jean Chrysostome, 
p. 62. 

1 9 Savigny, IV. 401 ; infra, note 56, where a version of the Psalter is also 
mentioned. 

20 Preface in Martene and Durand, I. 827 ; text, ed. C. Burkhard, Vienna 
programmes, 1 891-1902. 

si Commentary of St. Paul, inferred from the sepulchral inscription; Athana- 
sius, De Fide, conjectured by Bandini, Catalogus, IV. 455 ; St. Basil on Genesis 
(ibid., IV. 437 ; Codices Urbinates Latini, I. 78) ; Chrysostom on Acts, R. Sabba- 
dini, Le Scoperte dei Codici: Nuove Ricerche (Florence, 1914), P- 264. 

22 Martene and Durand, I. 817. 

23 Ghellinck, loc. cit.; G. Mercati, Note di Letteratura Biblica (Rome, 1901), 

pp. 141-144- 

24 Mercati, p. 142. His Chrysostom is cited as late as Poggio ; Sitsnngsbe- 
richte of the Vienna Academy, LXI. 409. 

25 The elaborate catalogue of Greek MSS. and translations of Galen pub- 
lished by H. Diels, " Die Handschriften der Antiken Aertzte ", in Abhandlungen 
of the Berlin Academy (1905), pt. I., pp. 58-15°. does not ordinarily indicate 
the authorship of the Latin versions, which in many cases still remains to be 
investigated. Evidently some of Burgundio's work was revised in the fourteenth 
century by Nicholas of Reggio and Peter of Abano. For Nicholas see F. Lo 
Parco, " Niccolo da Reggio ", in Atti delta R. Accademia di Archeologia di Na- 
poli, n. s., vol. II., pt. II., pp. 241-317. There may be some confusion with a 
Johannes de Burgundia, to whom is ascribed a treatise De Morbo Epidemie in 
Trinity College, Cambridge, MS. 1102, f. 53, MS. 1144, f. no v.; and in Caius 
College, MS. 336, f- 144 v. 



Greek in the Twelfth Century 609 

Temperamentis, 27 De Virtutibus Naturalibus, 2B De Sanitate Tuenda, 29 
De Differentiis Febrium, De Locis Affectis, M De Compendiositate 
Pulsus, 31 De Differentiis Pulsuum, 32 De Crisibus, is and Therapeutica 
(Methodi Medendi) ; 34 while his translation of the Aphorisms of 
Hippocrates is cited in the thirteenth century as preferable to that 
from the Arabic. 35 In a quite different field, he turned into Latin 
a treatise on the culture of the vine, 36 doubtless for the practical 
benefit of his native Tuscany, just as a Strassburg scholar of the 
sixteenth century sought to help the vineyards of the Rhine by 
translating extracts from the same Geoponica. 37 As a lawyer, too, 
he had opportunity to apply his knowledge of Greek to translating 
the Greek quotations in the Digest, ss for which he appears to have 
used the text of the famous Pisan manuscript. He is freely credited 

26 " Translatio greca est Burgundionis ". Bibliotheque Nationale, MS. Lat. 
6865, f. 81 ; Diels, p. 60. 

27 " Explicit liber Galieni de complexionibus translates a Burgundione cive 
Pisano secundum novam translationem ". Vatican, MS. Barberini Lat. 179, f. 
14 v.; MS. unknown to Diels, p. 64. 

28 Prag, Public Library, MS. 1404 ; not in Diels, p. 66. 

29 Diels, p. 75 ; Lo Parco, " Niccolo da Reggio ", p. 282 ft. 

30 " Explicit liber Galieni de interioribus secundum novam translationem Bur- 
gundii ". Vatican, MS. Barb. Lat. 179, f. 36 V.; MS. not in Diels, p. 85. 

si " Finis libri qui est de compendio pulsus a Burgundione iudice cive Pisano 
de greco in latinum translati ". Bibliotheque Nationale, MS. Lat. 15460, f. m 
v.; MS. not in Diels, p. 86. For the De Differentiis Febrium the Latin MSS. are 
cited by Diels, p. 80. 

32 Diels, p. 87. 

33 Munich, Cod. Lat. 35 ; Diels, p. 90. 

34 " Expletus est liber tarapeutice cum additionibus magistri Petri de Ebano 
que deficiunt ex translatione Burgundionis civis Pisani ". Vatican, MS. Barb. 
Lat. 178, f. 44 v. ; not in Diels, p. 92. Cf. G. Valentinelli, Bibliotheca Manu- 
scripta ad S. Marci Venetiarum, V. 79, and MS. Madrid 1978 (L. 60), f. 43 v. 

35 Puccinotti, Storia delta Medicina (Leghorn, 1850), vol. II., pt. II., p. 290; 
Neuburger, Geschichte der Medizin (Stuttgart, 1906), vol. II., pt. I., p. 375. As 
cited by Diels, pp. 14-16, the Latin MSS. do not mention Burgundio. 

38 Edited by Buonamici, in Annali delle University Toscane, vol. XXVIII. 
(1908). Incomplete MS. also in the Ambrosian, MS. C. 10, sup., f. 118 v.; also 
formerly at Erfurt (W. Schum, Beschreibendes Verzeichniss der Amplonianischen 
Handschriften-Sammlung, p. 802) and at Peterhouse, Cambridge (James, Cata- 
logue, p. 11). 

37 Serapeum, XVII. 287 ff. 

38 Savigny, IV. 403-410; Mommsen, Digesta, editio maior (1876), I. 35*; H. 
Fitting, " Bernardus Cremonensis und die Lateinische Uebersetzung des Grie- 
chischen in den Digesten ", in Berlin Sitzungsberichte (1894), II. 813-820; N. 
Tamassia, " Per la Storia dell' Autentico ", in Atti del R. Istituto Veneto, LVI. 
607-610 (1898). I agree with Savigny that there is no evidence that Burgundio 
translated the Novels, and that the reference to them in the preface to his trans- 
lation of Chrysostom's St. John (see below, note 56) shows that Burgundio ac- 
cepted the extant version as a literal translation made at Justinian's order. 



610 C. H. Haskins 

with the Latin version by the glossators of the thirteenth century, 
and, as in the case of his theological and medical translations, the 
results of his work passed into the general tradition of the later 
Middle Ages. 

Less noteworthy than Burgundio, two other members of the 
Pisan colony should also be mentioned, Hugo Eterianus and his 
brother Leo, generally known as Leo Tuscus. Hugo, though master 
of both tongues, was not so much a translator as an active advocate 
of Latin doctrine in controversy with Greek theologians, a polemic 
career which was crowned with a cardinal's hat by Lucius III. Leo, 
an interpreter in the emperor's household, translated the mass of 
St. Chrysostom and a dream-book {Oneiro critic on) of Ahmed ben 
Sirin. Another dream-book, compiled by one Pascal the Roman at 
Constantinople in 1165, offers further illustration of the interest in 
signs and wonders which prevailed at Manuel's court. 39 

North of the Alps there is little to record in the way of trans- 
lation, although it is probable that certain of the anonymous trans- 
lators who worked in Italy came from other lands. In 11 67 a certain 
William the Physician, originally from Gap in Provence, brought 
back Greek manuscripts from Constantinople to the monastery of 
Saint-Denis at Paris, 40 where he later became abbot (1172-1186). 
Sent out originally by Abbot Odo, he was evidently specially charged 
with securing the works attributed to Dionysius the Areopagite, 
who was confused with the patron saint of the monastery and of 
France, and a volume of these which he brought back is still pre- 
served among the Greek codices of the Bibliotheque Nationale. 41 
He also brought with him and translated the text of the Vita Secundi, 
a philosophical text of the second century, 42 and summaries {hypo- 
theses) of the Pauline epistles, while still other manuscripts may have 
been included in the opes atticas et orientates mentioned by one of 
his fellow-monks. This monk, also named William and sometimes 
confused with the physician, translated the eulogy of Dionysius by 
Michael Syncellus, but the writings which occupy the remainder of 
the Dionysian volume — De Caelesti Hierarchia, De Ecclesiastica 

39 See my note on " Leo Tuscus ", in English Historical Review, XXXIII. 
492-496 (1918). 

40 The material relating to William the Physician is conveniently given by 
Delisle, in Journal des Savants, 1900, pp. 7 2 5 _ 739- 

« MS. Gr. 933. 

42 Delisle, in Journal des Savants, p. 728. The version is critically edited, 
and its use by French writers traced, by A. Hilka in 88. Jahresbericht der Schlesi- 
schen Gesellschaft fur V aterlandische Cultttr (Breslau, 1910), IV. Abt., c. 1. See 
further F. Pfister, in Wochenschrift fiir Klassische Philologie, 191 1, coll. 539-548. 



Greek in the Twelfth Century 6 1 1 

Hierarchia, De Divinis Nominibus, De Mystica Theologia, and ten 
epistles — were rendered into Latin by John Sarrazin. 43 This John 
had himself visited the Greek East, where he had sought in vain the 
Symbolica Theologia of Dionysius, as we learn from one of his 
prefaces. 44 In spite of the crudeness of his translations, his learn- 
ing was valued by John of Salisbury, who turns to him on a point 
of Greek which Latin masters cannot explain, and who even ex- 
presses a desire to sit at Sarrazin's feet. 45 

The dependence of the leading classicist of the age upon a man 
like Sarrazin shows the general ignorance of Greek. "The most 
learned man of his time ", John of Salisbury made no less than ten 
journeys to Italy, in the course of which he visited Benevento and 
made the acquaintance of the Sicilian chancellor; he knew Bur- 
gundio, whom he cites on a point in the history of philosophy ; 46 he 
studied with a Greek interpreter of Santa Severina, to whom he may 
have owed his early familiarity with the New Logic; yet his cul- 
ture remained essentially Latin. 47 "He never quotes from any 
Greek author unless that author exists in a Latin translation." 48 
Greek could be learned only in southern Italy or the East, and few 
there were who learned it, as one can see from the sorry list of 
Greek references which have been culled from the whole seventy 
volumes of the Latin Patrologia for the twelfth century. 49 The 
Hellenism of the Middle Ages was a Hellenism of translations 
— and so, in large measure, was the Hellenism of the Italian 
Renaissance. 50 

Finally there remain to be mentioned the anonymous transla- 

43 Delisle, p. 726 ff . ; Histoire Litteraire de la France, XIV. 191-193. MSS. 
of these translations, with the prefaces, are common, e.g., Bibliotheque de l'Ar- 
senal, MS. 529; Chartres, MS. 131; Vatican, MS. Vat. Lat. 175; Madrid, Biblio- 
teca Nacional, MS. 523 (A. 90) ; Munich, MSS. 380, 435. 

44 Delisle, p. 727. 

*s Epistolae, no. 169; cf. also nos. 147, 149, 223, 229, 230. 

48 Metalogicus, bk. IV., c. 7. 

4T Schaarschmidt, Johannes Saresberiensis (Leipzig, 1862) ; Poole, in Dic- 
tionary of National Biography ; C. C. I. Webb, Ioannis Saresberiensis Policraticus, 
vol. I., introd. 

48 Sandys, History of Classical Scholarship (second ed.), I. 540. 

49 How sorry this list is, the Abbe A. Tougard does not seem to realize when 
he has drawn it up. L'Hellenisme dans les Ecrivains da Moyen Age (Paris, 1886), 
ch. V. On the reserve necessary in using such citations, cf. Traube, Roma 
Nobilis (Munich, 1891), p. 65. On Greek in the twelfth century, see Sandys, pp. 
555-558. Miss Loomis, Medieval Hellenism (Columbia thesis, 1906), adds noth- 
ing on this period. 

so Loomis, " The Greek Renaissance in Italy ", in American Historical Re- 
view, XIII. 246-258 (1908). 



612 C. H. Haskins 

tions, made for the most part doubtless in Italy. Where we are 
fortunate enough to have the prefaces, these works can be dated 
approximately and some facts can be determined with respect to 
their authors, as in the case of the first Latin version of the Almagest, 
made in Sicily about 1160, and a version of Aristotle's Posterior 
Analytics (1128-1159) preserved in a manuscript of the cathedral 
of Toledo. 51 In the majority of cases no such evidence has been 
handed down, and we have no guide beyond the dates of codices and 
the citations of texts in a form directly derived from the Greek. 
Until investigation has proceeded considerably further than at pres- 
ent, the work of the twelfth century in many instances cannot clearly 
be separated from that of the earlier Middle Ages on the one hand, 
and on the other from that of the translators of the thirteenth and 
fourteenth centuries who follow in unbroken succession. Often we 
know only that a particular work had been translated from the Greek 
before the time of the humanists. The most important body of 
material with which the twelfth century may have occupied itself 
anonymously is the writings of Aristotle. 52 The Physics, Meta- 
physics, and briefer works on natural history reach western Europe 
about 1200 ; the Politics, Ethics, Rhetoric, and Economics only in the 
course of the next two generations. In nearly every instance trans- 
lations are found both from the Greek and from the Arabic, and 
nearly all are undated. At present about all that can be said is that 
by the turn of the century traces are found of versions from the 
Greek in the case of the Physics, De Caelo, De Anima, and the Parva 
Naturalia. 53 The Metaphysics seems to have come from Constan- 
tinople shortly after 1204. 54 

On the personal side these Hellenists of the twelfth century 
have left little of themselves. James of Venice is only a name ; the 
translator of the Almagest is not even that. Moses of Bergamo we 
know slightly through the accident which has preserved one of his 
letters ; others survive almost wholly through their prefaces. Char- 
acteristic traits or incidents are few — Moses lamenting the loss of 

si Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, XXI. 99 ; XXV. 98. 

5 2 The fundamental work of A. Jourdain, Recherches Critiques sur I' Age et 
V Origine des Traductions Latines d'Aristote (Paris, 1843), has now been supple- 
mented by M. Grabmann, " Forschungen fiber die Lateinisehen Aristotelesuber- 
setzungen des XIII. Jahrhunderts ", in Beitrage sur Geschichte der Philosophie 
des Mittelalters, vol. XVII. (Mfinster, 1916). For a summary of the problem, 
see Mandonnet, Siger de Brabant (Louvain, 1911), pp. 9- I 5- 

53 Harvard Studies, XXV. 87-89 ; Baeumker, in Munich Sitsungsberichte 
(1913), no. 9, pp. 33 ff. For the Meteorology, see above, note 6. 

54 Grabmann, "Forschungen", pp. 124—137. 



Greek in the Twelfth Century 613 

his Greek library, and the three pounds of gold it had cost him ; the 
Pisan secretary of Manuel Comnenos trailing after the emperor on 
the tortuous marches of his Turkish campaigns ; Burgundio redeem- 
ing his son's soul from purgatory by translating Chrysostom in the 
leisure moments of his diplomatic journeys; a Salerno student of 
medicine braving the terrors of Scylla and Charybdis in order to 
see an astronomical manuscript just arrived from Constantinople, 
and remaining in Sicily until he had mastered its contents and made 
them available to the Latin world ; Aristippus working over Plato in 
camp and investigating the phenomena of Etna's eruptions in the 
spirit of the elder Pliny; Eugene the Emir, in prison at the close 
of his public career, writing Greek verse in praise of solitude and 
books. Little enough all this, but sufficient to show the kinship of 
these men with " the ancient and universal company of scholars ". 
In all its translations the twelfth century was closely, even 
painfully literal, in a way that is apt to suggest the stumbling and 
conscientious school-boy. Every Greek word had to be represented 
by a Latin equivalent, even to piv and 8e. Sarrazin laments that he 
cannot render phrases introduced by the article, and even attempts 
to imitate Greek compounds by running Latin words together. 55 
The versions were so slavish that they are useful for establishing 
the Greek text, particularly where they represent a tradition older 
than the extant manuscripts. This method, de verbo ad verbum, 
was, however, followed not from ignorance but of set purpose, as 
Burgundio, for example, is at pains to explain in one of his pref- 
aces. 56 The texts which these scholars rendered were authorities in 

B5 John of Salisbury, Epistolae, nos. 149, 230; cf. William the Physician, in 
Journal des Savants, 1900, p. 738. 

5« " Verens igitur ego Burgundio ne, si sentenciam huius sancti patris com- 
mentacionis assumens meo earn more dictarem, in aliquo alterutrorum horum 
duorum sapientissimorum virorum sentenciis profundam mentem mutarem et in 
tam magna re, cum sint verba fidei, periculum lapsus alicuius alteritatis incurre- 
rem, difficilius iter arripiens, et verba et significationem eandem et stilum et 
ordinem eundem qui apud Grecos est in hac mea translatione servare disposui. 
Sed et veteres tam Grecorum quam et Latinorum interpretes hec eadem continue 
egisse perhibentur ", the Septuagint being an example. " Sanctus vero Basilius 
predictum Ysaiam prophetam exponens lxx duorum interpretum editione mirabili- 
ter ad litteram commentatur, eiusque commentacionem ego Burgundio iudex 
domino tercio Eugenio beate memorie pape de verbo verbum transferens ex pre- 
dicta lxx duorum interpretum editione facta antiquam nostram translationem in 
omnibus fere sum prosequtus. Cum Sancti Ieronimi novam suam editionem 
nullatenus ibi expositam invenirem nee earn sequi ullo modo mea commentacione 
possem, psalterium quoque de verbo ad verbum de greco in latinum translatum est 
sermonem ". He then passes in review the various literal translations previously 
made from the Greek — the Twelve Tables, the Corpus Juris Civilis, the Dialogues 



6 1 4 C. H. Haskins 

a sense that the modern world has lost, and their words were not to 
be trifled with. Who was Aristippus that he should omit any of the 
sacred words of Plato? 57 Better carry over a word like didascalia 
than run any chance of altering the meaning of Aristotle. 53 Bur- 
gundio might even be in danger of heresy if he put anything of his 
own instead of the very words of Chrysostom. It was natural in 
the fifteenth century to pour contempt on such translating, even as 
the humanists satirized the Latin of the monks, but the men of the 
Renaissance did not scruple to make free use of these older versions, 
to an extent which we are just beginning to realize. Instead of 
striking out boldly for themselves, the translators of the Quattrocento 
were apt to take an older version where they could, touching it up to 
suit current taste. As examples may be cited the humanistic edi- 
tions of Aristotle's Logic, of Chrysostom and John of Damascus, 
and even of Plato. 59 It has always been easier to ridicule Dryasdust 
than to dispense with him ! 

Apart from such unacknowledged use during the Renaissance, the 
translators of the twelfth century made a solid contribution to the 
culture of the later Middle Ages. Where they came into competi- 
tion with translations from the Arabic, it was soon recognized that 
they were more faithful and trustworthy. At their best the Arabic 
versions were one remove further from the original and had passed 
through the refracting medium of a wholly different kind of lan- 
guage, 60 while at their worst they were made in haste and with the 

of Gregory the Great, Chalcidius's version of the Timaeus, Priscian, Boethius, the 
Aphorisms of Hippocrates and the Tegni of Galen, John the Scot's version of 
Dionysius the Areopagite, and the De Urinis of Theophilus — and concludes: "Si 
enim alienam materiam tuam tuique iuris vis esse putari, non verbo verbum, ut 
ait Oratius, curabis reddere ut fidus interpres, ymo eius materiei sentenciam 
sumens tui earn dictaminis compagine explicabis, et ita non interpres eris sed ex 
te tua propria composuisse videberis. Quod et Tullius et Terentius se fecisse 
testantur. . . . Cum igitur hec mea translatio scriptura sancta sit et in hoc 
meo labore non gloriam sed peccatorum raeorum et filii mei veniam Domini ex- 
pectavi, merito huic sancto patri nostro Iohanni Crisostomo sui operis gloriam et 
apud Latinos conservans, verbum ex verbo statui transferendum, deficienciam 
quidem dictionum intervenientem duabus vel etiam tribus dictionibus adiectis 
replens, idyoma vero quod barbarismo vel metaplasmo vel scemate vel tropo fit 
recta et propria sermocinacione retorquens ". Preface to translation of Chrysos- 
tom's St. John, Vatican, MS. Ottoboni Lat. 227, ff. lv-2. For specimens of Bur- 
gundio's method, see Dausend, in Wiener Studien, XXXV. 353-369. 

57 Even to the point of rendering re ml by que et. Rassegna Bibliografica 
della Letteratura Italiana, XIII. 12. 

t>8 Harvard Studies, XXV. 98. 

^Ibid., XXI. 88, XXV. 105; Wochenschrift fiir Klassische Philology, 1896, 
col. 1097. 

60 Eugene of Palermo remarks on the difference of Arabic idiom. G. Govi, 
I'Ottica di Claudio Tolomeo (Turin, 1885), p. 3. 



Greek in the Twelfth Century 615 

aid of ignorant interpreters working through the Spanish vernac- 
ular. 61 It was more or less a matter of accident whether the version 
from the Greek or that from the Arabic should pass into general 
circulation; thus the Sicilian translation of the Almagest, though 
earlier, is known in but three copies, while that made in Spain is 
found everywhere ; but in the case of Aristotle the two sets of ren- 
derings existed side by side. The list of works known only through 
the Greek of the twelfth century is, however, considerable. It com- 
prises the Meno and Phaedo of Plato, the only other dialogue known 
to the Middle Ages being the Timaeus, in an older version ; the ad- 
vanced works of Euclid; Proclus and Hero; numerous treatises of 
Galen ; Chrysostom, Basil, Nemesius, John of Damascus, and the 
Pseudo-Dionysius ; and a certain amount of scattered material, theo- 
logical, legendary, and liturgical. 62 

The absence of the classical works of literature and history is as 
significant in this list as it is in the curriculum of the medieval uni- 
versities. We are in the twelfth century, not the fifteenth, and the 
interest in medicine, mathematics, philosophy, and theology reflects 
the practical and ecclesiastical preoccupations of the age rather than 
the wider interests of the humanists. It is well, however, to remem- 
ber that these same authors continue to be read in the Quattrocento, 
in translations new or old ; they are merely crowded into the back- 
ground by the newer learning. In this sense there is continuity be- 
tween the two periods. There is also a certain amount of continuity 
in the materials of scholarship — individual manuscripts of the earlier 
period gathered into libraries at Venice or Paris, the library of the 
Sicilian kings probably forming the nucleus of the Greek collections 
of the Vatican. 63 To what extent there was a continuous influence 
of Hellenism is a more difficult problem, in view of our fragmentary 
knowledge of conditions of the south. The Sicilian translators of the 
twelfth century are followed directly by those at the courts of Fred- 
erick II. and Manfred, while in the fourteenth century we have to 
remember the sojourn of Petrarch at the court of Robert of Naples, 
and the Calabrian Greek who taught Boccaccio. The gap is short, 
but it cannot yet be bridged. 

Charles H. Haskins. 

m Cf. Rose, in Hermes, VIII. 335 ff. 

62 Sabbadini, he Scoperte dei Codici: Nuove Ricerche, pp. 262-265, gives a 
list of medieval versions from which Euclid, Hero, and the Geoponica are absent. 

63 See the studies of Heiberg and Ehrle cited in Harvard Studies, XXV. 89, 
note.